Monday, July 16, 2012

It's All About Grace

Reflections: In today’s passage, we see the unfailing love and grace of God. We realize that we have been called by God’s grace into relationship with Him, and it will be grace that leads us home. The Israelites felt this as time after time God restored His relationship with them, even though they had strayed. God has chosen them by His grace and His call for them was irrevocable. Though God had to punish them for their transgressions, the purpose was to get them on track so that through them He would bring in the Messiah.

In Deuteronomy, we see God commanding the Israelites what they are to do and always remembering how God had delivered them from the Egyptians, so they could settle into the Promised Land and show God’s purposes. Importantly, if you read in chapter 27, they were to put these words on stones and plaster so they could always return to God and remember what He had done for them by His grace.

In Luke, Jesus provides a rare glimpse of His divinity to Peter, James and John. They are treated to a revelation of who Jesus really was, and heard the words from the Father, “This is my Son listen to Him.” They would remember this for the rest of their lives, and it would be passed on to us to remind us of who Jesus is, and what He has called us to do.

So you can see from beginning to end it is a work of God’s grace. And still today God is calling us to obey Him and be set apart so God can reveal His plan of salvation by grace through faith to His people. We should do everything we can to remember God’s central act of deliverance in the sending of His Son, so that we don’t forget how God has given us everything we need for a life that is pleasing to Him. Remember God’s grace to you personally today, and as you continue to listen to the voice of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit we can continue to unveil His plan to all those who God has called by His grace.

Psalm 85:1-7
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

1 You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.
3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.
4 Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
and grant us your salvation.

Deuteronomy 26:1-27:13
Firstfruits and Tithes

26 When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, 2 take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name 3 and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the land the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4 The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. 5 Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. 6 But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. 7 Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. 8 So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9 He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; 10 and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me. ” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. 11 Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13 Then say to the Lord your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. 14 I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God; I have done everything you commanded me. 15 Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Follow the Lord’s Commands
16 The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19 He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.

Luke 9:28-36
The Transfiguration

28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for indeed, all that we have done, you have done for us. Isaiah 26:12

But by the grace of God I am what I am. 1 Corinthians 15:10

Lord, because you love us, we can remain strong! Be with us especially when we feel your grace, for you give us all we need when we most need it. In God’s grace. Amen.

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